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Any info about American Academy (AMA)?
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usually, it would go something like this "Teacher, my sister is going to AMA. What do you think of that school?"

I respond with what I know from talking to people around town as well as the overwhelming reports not only on this site, but on several EFL websites regarding this chain. I tell them it's not a good school. And usually give them some recommendations on what I consider to be a better school... in Danang it's usually ILA or ELI.

I don't feel any overwhelming sense of loyalty to my current school. If my students ask me what would be a better school than the one I'm teaching, I'd tell them that too, if there was one. I feel my responsibility is to my students, not to my school.

As for AMA in Danang's reputation, it's bad. Word around town keeps getting worse too. I recently met a teacher who came to Danang with the promise of full-time hours and a contract from them, but when she got here, they said they could only give her 3 hours a week. No apologies or recompense for her travel expenses. She ended up going to Hanoi because she couldn't scrounge together enough hours in Danang. Furthermore, at least at some point last year, AMA Danang was employing non-native English speakers from Europe as full time teachers. The students were never told they weren't native teachers. When AMA first opened its doors in Danang last year, I had a few students who left my classes to try it out, but they were back within 2 months saying how bad it was.

So, I feel my warnings to students about the place are justified.
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JSutt



Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
As for AMA in Danang's reputation, it's bad. Word around town keeps getting worse too. I recently met a teacher who came to Danang with the promise of full-time hours and a contract from them, but when she got here, they said they could only give her 3 hours a week. No apologies or recompense for her travel expenses. She ended up going to Hanoi because she couldn't scrounge together enough hours in Danang. Furthermore, at least at some point last year, AMA Danang was employing non-native English speakers from Europe as full time teachers. The students were never told they weren't native teachers. When AMA first opened its doors in Danang last year, I had a few students who left my classes to try it out, but they were back within 2 months saying how bad it was.

So, I feel my warnings to students about the place are justified.


Not sure where you heard this, but it's not actually true. I've been at the school since January and my partner has since it opened and there's haven't been any European non-native speakers employed there.

As for teachers not getting full-time hours, I'm not sure what that has to do with students' learning English or why they'd be better off going to another school. It's been normal with most teachers at the school to start with only a few hours for a week or two, then ramp up to full-time work if the students like them and they do a good job.

So yeah, just be a bit careful if you're talking trash about a place based on second-hand information and internet gossip. English teachers love to bitch and moan but I would second VietCanada in saying that you run the risk of looking bad yourself if you pass that on to students and potential customers.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The information I had about non-native English teachers working there wasn't exactly second had. It came from people who claimed to be working there. Furthermore, second hand internet gossip is often the only way teachers can warn others off of bad schools. The information presented on ESL websites should be heeded if you're looking for a pleasant work environment.

A school that lies to its teachers, making fly to vietnam with the promise of full time work, only to offer 3 hours a week on arrival should send up red flags for anyone. Teachers or students alike. The girl I mentioned, said that she learned from talking to several other teachers she met that AMA has a bad reputation in town. So I'm not the only one who's heard bad things.

Instead of telling me what I should and shouldn't do, perhaps it would be better if you gave us all a picture of what it's like working at AMA from your perspective. There's a lot of bad publicity out there, and it's kind of viewed as a last resort sort of school, or the type that attracts "teachers" who don't take their jobs seriously.

If you can paint it in a better light. I'm sure we'd all be interested to read about it.
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JSutt



Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you've changed your mind from warning off students to warning off other teachers then. Yeah there are a few issues with one of the managers there who grinds absolutely EVERYONE'S gears. I do actively try to avoid getting involved with that particular person, who can be flaky with hours (as your friend found out), sexist, racist, etc - white, blue-eyed unattached males are hired for preference - and other teachers have the same issues. However this isn't the school so much as this one person, and it's not really fair to judge the teachers and the school as a whole based on one bad apple.

Aside from that I don't have any problems with the school, the other teachers, as far as I can tell, are professional and take their jobs seriously. I work 25-35 hours a week with good materials and support from the Vietnamese staff, 1-2 days off a week, I get paid on time and in full and I enjoy working with the students.

As for a 'last resort' school...well I have worked for some other small institutes in the city and AMA would definitely not be my last choice if they were an option.

So there you go, a first-hand report from someone who works at AMA. One staff member who makes life difficult but otherwise an ok place to work or study - and, I think, not deserving of being labeled as a 'bad school' and having students warned away from it.
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just noel



Joined: 17 Jul 2006
Posts: 164

PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have spoken with some instructors in Hanoi that were at AMA in Hanoi.

Not good reports, that's for sure.

They say it is run by a 30-something local who went to school in Canada.

Pretty much a scam. "Active learning."

It's a farce.
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